Tender

Tender

Friday, July 30, 2010

Losing my vacation

                                                (vacation 2005)

Musical Accompaniment from Sarah McLachlan - Wait

I remember vacations. Times we spent having fun together - day trips, hanging out, watching movies and rubbing each others' backs. Ordering chinese and pizza in the same day and baking a cake to eat after. Long workouts. Leisurely sex.

They were respites. They gave us the badly-needed recharge to keep up the blind maze of life. They exist no more.

Vacations, now, are the time in which we discharge a number of obligations that pile up while we spend our days working and the rest of our time parenting. We're lucky - family child minding provided a few days of "free time" which we spent organizing the critically disorganized of our household and taking care of things long overdue. And then the vacation started.

First was a visit at A.'s parents, a six hour drive North. Not one night's uninterrupted sleep, since I was sharing a room with my restless daughter and a smaller bed than usual with my husband. Socializing with his extended family, balancing parenting with allowing grandmama her deserved space. Tiptoeing around grandpapa because, for no apparent reason, we make each other uneasy. Or maybe it's just me.

Then, it was off to my parents' small, recently-renovated house. They just discovered that their new floors scratch easily and they don't like the door opening and closing when the air conditioning is on, and please be sure not to drip any water on the hardwood in the kitchen. But make yourselves at home.

The house is on the lake. Except the lake water is low this year so it's half a mile of smelly mud and reeds before you hit miles of calf-deep water. I walked for twenty minutes and never found water as high as my waist. Which is totally not their fault, I recognize.

Nor is it their fault that I am simply not a good enough person to be around them. The things that are wrong with them are just too much like the things that are still wrong with me, and I can't stand having the magnifying glass so large and unforgiving.

They did their best, and I can see that. I was a challenge to parent, and they hadn't had entirely helpful examples. They used what was good that they learned from my grandparents, and inflicted only some of what was not so good. They are who they are, and they don't pretend to be anything else. It's me who is not satisfied or comfortable with that.

So in any case, I lost it. Only once, when there were SO many opportunities, but still. It poisons everything. They are not forgivers. They are fake forgivers, which is a million times worse because it eliminates any opportunity for connection and shared understanding. It's why I thought I hated them for awhile - because they didn't want to connect with me, so how could they love me? But correlation is not causation, my friends. Remember that if nothing else.

Okay, you thought this was a whine about losing my vacation and now I'm dragging you through the same tired story we all have in one way or another about someone or another. I'll get back to the story.

Days spent trying to keep the kids busy when the wind was too strong to be outside and they just needed to run and climb. No sleep on the hard, uncomfortable futon with the Moon shining on me through the invisible blinds, from both the sky and from the water. She sat with me in sympathy but did not heal me. I am not hers to heal.

Yesterday, the 2 hour pack and load, followed by the 8 hour drive home from my parents'.  Eight hours in a van with recently-toilet-trained preschoolers using dirty, tiny rest stops. What can I say? I trust your imagination.

Fell into bed last night, only to be awakened no fewer than three times by childrens' nightmares and having to pee. And 7am this morning, there they are! In full colour and 3D surround sound. I'm so tired I could cry.

This is my vacation?

I just walked away to write this, left them with my husband. He took a look at my actual eyes for a few seconds this morning, so I think he'll understand. I walked away to put some of this weight down, see if I can let it go as the words appear on the screen. See if I can calm the white-peaked waves this vacation has stirred in my body and my spirit.  Like that lake, water lapping at my knees, inviting me to swim when there's not enough water to swim in. Restless. Unstill.

Tuesday it's back to work. I hope that I find a way to recharge in the remaining days, because right now, I'm running on empty.

Barely.

(I'm losing myself in the memory with music from Sarah McLachlan: Elsewhere)

10 comments:

  1. Unfortunately that's why it is often said "I need a vacation to recover from my vacation."

    It doesn't help to be exhausted and then have to deal with family drama (and believe me there is always drama in family even if it seems like there's none.)

    I had to learn to say, "I'm going somewhere else on vacation with my husband. You are always welcome to use your vacation time to come visit us."

    It's one of those dynamic balance things, and sometimes I have no equilibrium, but I work on it.

    We do our best, and that's all we can do. Take some time in the next few days to refuel, even if it means a babysitter or paying your husband to watch the kids for a day. :)

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  2. I get it, all of it. Quite honestly, I am not big on travel, or vacations, they leave me exhausted. My husband loves to travel, or so he says, but the during the actual journey he is awful, and to me, that should be part of the fun. So now, a great deal of the time, I simply say, "You go." then have peace and quality alone time for me.

    But my kids are grown, so it is different for you at this point. And I love my parents, I have already gone through my issues with them and come out on the other side (we had lots), but still, even after spending just a day with them I need to be somewhere else. They live nearby so I see them often, in smaller doses. That works best for me.

    Families. Life. Sometimes it is just plain hard. But you get through it. Try to get some time for yourself this weekend, a few hours to rest, regroup, calm.

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  3. Vacations are everyday life magnified and stuffed into a tiny box! Especially with kids and family involved! You stir a lot of memories with your story. Hang tough ...

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  4. What the hell is leisurely sex?

    And... I think moms everywhere can relate to something in this posting. At least one thing. That's how much it resonates. Whether it's the long car ride with the newly toilet trained, to the exhaustion afterward, or entertaining during crummy weather...

    Oh my, I'm suddenly inundated with flashbacks of vacations past.

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  5. Cristina, I could write it for you but not on this blog ;-)

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  6. My daughter goes through this with two kids, a full-time job and a husband who travels for his work. I do love to spend time with the grandkids and they enjoy it, too, so there are more opportunities for my daughter and son-in-law to have actual long weekends away. Hang in there, dear. *BIG HUGS*

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  7. I think you're authentically beautiful, and wish I'd had your courage when I'd endured days as you've described. Never in a million years would I have been brave enough to share such feelings out loud. I hear you, I've been there, I totally understand. And, as the mother of two teen girls ~ please know that it DOES get better. Mostly ...

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  8. I think I also experience that. I had a great time reading your post. It is so fun to read. I will be visiting your blog more often to be updated on your blog.

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